2016 P-R-O Convention All Star: Los Angeles Rams Cheerleader Brittany

I mentioned that last time when we featured L.A. Rams Cheerleader Shelbie that their auditions attracted former professional cheerleaders from all over the United States and that it was like selecting an all star team. Well our next 2016 P-R-O Convention All Star is another former pro cheerleader. She is a former Clippers Spirit dancer and current Los Angeles Rams Cheerleader, introducing Brittany.

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For our next 2016 P-R-O Convention All Star, we head back to the great state of Texas via Miami, so check back tomorrow to see who it is.  And for more cheerleader articles, please visit my personal blog: thehottestdanceteam.wordpress.com.

2016 P-R-O Convention All Star: Los Angeles Rams Cheerleader Shelbie

NFL football  came back to Los Angeles in a big way this past year with the return of the Rams.  And at their final auditions, former professional cheerleaders from other renown teams tried out so much so that I commented that it was like creating a rock and roll super group in that you could have your pick of the finest dancers from southern California and the nation.  There were girls from the Clippers Spirit, Laker Girls, Charger Girls, Denver Broncos Cheerleaders, Baltimore Ravens Cheerleaders, 49ers Gold Rush, Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders, Utah Jazz Dancers, Charlotte Lady Cats, Ladies of Ontario Fury, Chiva Girls, and more.  It was simply amazing.

Our latest 2016 P-R-O Convention All Star is one of these cheerleader super stars.  She is a former Laker Girl and current member of the Los Angeles Rams Cheerleaders…introducing Shelbie, a P-R-O Convention All Star.

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There’s many more amazing cheerleaders to be featured here, so stay tuned!  And for more cheerleader articles, please visit my personal blog: thehottestdanceteam.wordpress.com.

2016 P-R-O Convention All Star: Los Angeles Rams Cheerleader Sativa-Skye

We begin our coverage of the 2016 P-R-O Convention with our All Star featurette on Los Angeles Rams Cheerleader Sativa-Skye.

I first met Sativa-Skye at the 2014 Ladies of Ontario Fury dance team auditions and I knew then that there would be big things in the future for her.  Flash forward to April of 2016.  Sativa-Skye is selected as one of the members of the Los Angeles Rams Cheerleaders from a candidate pool of local and nationwide professional cheerleaders.  Big things indeed.

So when Saturday arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to see her and two of her new teammates at the convention.  And on Sunday, we were able to snap a few posed photos for this article.  Beautiful, talented and very personable.  Sativa-Skye…our first P-R-O Convention All Star of 2016.

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Stay tuned for more amazing P-R-O Convention All Star Cheerleaders! And for more cheerleader articles, please visit my personal blog: thehottestdanceteam.wordpress.com.

Roll Call! 2016-17 Los Angeles Rams Cheerleaders (Updated Again!)

The Los Angeles Rams have posted headshots of their 2016 cheerleaders. (I devoutly hope that this year we will also get to see some uniform shots online. They didn’t post them last year, so I’m hoping this year they will.)

This team of 28 comes with quite the resume. of the 28 member team, at least 22 have experience on other pro or semi-pro teams. Several of them on multiple teams. A few others came directly from college dance teams.

Let me show you what the Rams are working with this year:

2016 LAR rookie_Ally
Ally: former Cal State Fullerton dancer (college)

2016 LAR rookie_Amanda
Amanda: former Denver Broncos Cheerleader (NFL)

2016 LAR rookie_Andi
Andi: former Chivas USA Chiva Girl (MLS), Los Angeles Clippers Spirit Dancer (NBA), and Los Angeles Laker Girl (NBA)

2016 LAR rookie_Ariel
Ariel: former Chivas USA Chiva Girl (MLS), Los Angeles Clippers Spirit Dancer (NBA), Los Angeles Laker Girl (NBA), and San Diego Charger Girl (NFL)

2016 LAR rookie_Aubrey
Aubrey: former Los Angeles Laker Girl (NBA)

2016 LAR rookie_Bianca
Bianca: former Los Angeles Clippers Spirit Dancer (NBA)

2016 LAR rookie_BrandiR
Brandi R.: former Baltimore Ravens Cheerleader (NFL)

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Brandi W: former Los Angeles Laker Girl (NBA)

2016 LAR rookie_Brittany
Brittany: former Los Angeles Clippers Spirit Dancer (NBA) EIGHT seasons on the team – holy cow!

2016 LAR rookie_Chelsea
Chelsea: former Utah Jazz Dancer (NBA)

2016 LAR rookie_Cherise
Cherise: for San Francisco 49ers Gold Rush Cheerleader (NFL)

2016 LAR rookie_Jennifer
Jennifer: former Boston Celtics Dancer and Los Angeles Laker Girl (both NBA)

2016 LAR rookie_Jojo
JoJo (Giordana): former University of Michigan dance team member (college)

2016 LAR rookie_Justene
Justine: former Los Angeles Clippers Spirit Dancer (NBA)

2016 LAR rookie_Linette
Linette: former Chivas USA Chiva Girl (MLS), and Los Angeles Laker Girl (NBA)

2016 LAR rookie_MaCall
MaCall: former UCLA dance team member (college)

2016 LAR rookie_Mandi
Mandi: former Chivas USA Chiva Girl (MLS) and Los Angeles Clippers Spirit Dancer (NBA)

2016 LAR rookie_Melissa
Melissa: former Los Angeles Clippers Spirit Dancer and Los Angeles Laker Girl (both NBA)

2016 LAR rookie_Micki
Micki: former Atlanta Falcons Cheerleader (NFL)

2016 LAR rookie_Sammy
Sammy: former USC Trojan Dance Force member (college)

2016 LAR rookie_Sativa-Skye
Sativa-Skye: former Ontario Fury dancer (MASL)

2016 LAR rookie_Shardia
Shardia: former Charlotte Bobcats LadyCat (NBA)

2016 LAR rookie_Shelbie
Shelbie: former Los Angeles Laker Girl (NBA)

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Stephanie: former Anaheim Bolts dancer (MASL), Los Angeles Kings Crew member (NHL), and Ontario Fury dancer (MASL)

2016 LAR rookie_Valerie
Valerie: former Los Angeles Laker Girl (NBA)

2016 LAR rookie_Zandra
Zandra: former San Diego Sockers Socker Girl (MASL)

Note: photos above don’t include all of the ladies on the team. That does not mean that the ones not listed above aren’t awesome and talented, with a dance resume as long as my arm. It probably just means their background is centered on studio/industry dance as opposed to sports entertainment. It could also mean they just value their privacy online and it was harder to get info on them. There ain’t nothing wrong with that.

If I missed anyone’s major credits, let me know. I’m happy to edit this list. ~ sasha.

LA gets its first NFL cheerleaders in 20 years

Twenty-eight talented ladies beat out 400 to make the Los Angeles Rams cheerleading squad
By Ashley Collman
Dailymail.com
April 18, 2016

[Watch the video (scroll to bottom)]

* Final try-outs for the Los Angeles Rams cheerleading squad took place on Sunday at the Forum arena
* Twenty-eight women made the team from 66 finalists who were called in for an interview, swimsuit contest and dance performance
* The audition process began back on April 2 when around 400 women turned out to try out
* The 2016-2017 season marks the first time the Rams will be back in their original city of Los Angeles
* From 1995 until 2015, St. Louis was the Rams host city

Dozens of primped and polished ladies put their best faces forward on Sunday, to compete in the final round of try-outs for the Los Angeles Rams cheerleading team.

The 66 women who made it to the last round spend the evening wowing the judges in the swimsuit competition, dance performance and final interview at the Forum arena in Inglewood.

In the end, 28 women were selected to join the squad – the first to be back in Los Angeles since the Rams moved to St. Louis for 20 years in 1995.

‘I was so excited. I was overwhelmed with emotion. I started crying and I think I hit myself in the face,’ one of the new cheerleaders told KCAL.

Newly chosen Los Angeles Rams cheerleaders celebrate after receiving their team jackets during final auditions for the cheerleading squad in Los Angeles, California on April 17

Newly chosen Los Angeles Rams cheerleaders celebrate after receiving their team jackets during final auditions for the cheerleading squad in Los Angeles, California on April 17


Newly chosen Los Angeles Rams cheerleaders celebrate after receiving their team jackets during final auditions for the cheerleading squad in Los Angeles, California on April 17

Former Rams player and pro-Football Hall of Fame member Marshall Faulk was part of the five-man, four-woman panel that selected the final team.

Lisa Estrada, vice president of entertainment and facilities for the Los Angeles Lakers, and John Peters, Rams cheer choreographer, also helped in making the final decision.

Auditions for the team started on April 2, when 400 women turned out to try-out for the team at the Galen center.

For the following two weeks, the scores of women went through preliminary auditions, professional interviews and dance rehearsals.
The Rams NFL football team is returning to Los Angeles for the 2016 season after having left the city along with the Los Angeles Raiders after the 1994 season

The Rams NFL football team is returning to Los Angeles for the 2016 season after having left the city along with the Los Angeles Raiders after the 1994 season

The Rams NFL football team is returning to Los Angeles for the 2016 season after having left the city along with the Los Angeles Raiders after the 1994 season

Try-outs started April 2, and included more than 400 women. By the final auditions on Sunday, just 66 women were left

Try-outs started April 2, and included more than 400 women. By the final auditions on Sunday, just 66 women were left

During final tryouts on Sunday, the women showed off their talents in a swimsuit contest, dance performance and interview.

During final tryouts on Sunday, the women showed off their talents in a swimsuit contest, dance performance and interview.

Los Angeles Rams cheerleader hopeful Sativa M. performs during the swimsuit portion of the squad's final auditions on Sunday (she later made the team).

Los Angeles Rams cheerleader hopeful Sativa M. performs during the swimsuit portion of the squad’s final auditions on Sunday (she later made the team).

On the right, Newly chosen Los Angeles Rams cheerleader Samantha O. is greeted by former Rams cheerleaders.

On the right, Newly chosen Los Angeles Rams cheerleader Samantha O. is greeted by former Rams cheerleaders.

Los Angeles Rams cheerleader hopeful Gaebri A. performs during the swimsuit portion of the squad's final auditions. Gaebri did not make the team.

Los Angeles Rams cheerleader hopeful Gaebri A. performs during the swimsuit portion of the squad’s final auditions. Gaebri did not make the team.

Los Angeles Rams cheerleader hopefuls perform during the dance portion of the squad's final auditions in Los Angeles on Sunday.

Los Angeles Rams cheerleader hopefuls perform during the dance portion of the squad’s final auditions in Los Angeles on Sunday.

Newly chosen Los Angeles Rams cheerleader Stephanie E. is greeted by former Rams cheerleaders and the team's mascot after the cheerleading squad's final auditions on Sunday.

Newly chosen Los Angeles Rams cheerleader Stephanie E. is greeted by former Rams cheerleaders and the team’s mascot after the cheerleading squad’s final auditions on Sunday.

Newly chosen Los Angeles Rams cheerleader Micki J. is greeted by former Rams cheerleaders and the team's mascot after the final auditions in Los Angeles, California, USA, 17 April 2016

Newly chosen Los Angeles Rams cheerleader Micki J. is greeted by former Rams cheerleaders and the team’s mascot after the final auditions in Los Angeles, California, USA, 17 April 2016

 Newly chosen Los Angeles Rams cheerleader Jennifer P. is greeted by former Rams cheerleaders and the team's mascot after the final auditions for the cheerleading squad in Los Angeles, California, USA, 17 April 2016.


Newly chosen Los Angeles Rams cheerleader Jennifer P. is greeted by former Rams cheerleaders and the team’s mascot after the final auditions for the cheerleading squad in Los Angeles, California, USA, 17 April 2016.

Los Angeles Rams cheerleader hopeful Michelle S. performs during the dance portion of the squad's final auditions on Sunday. Michelle later made the team.

Los Angeles Rams cheerleader hopeful Michelle S. performs during the dance portion of the squad’s final auditions on Sunday. Michelle later made the team.

‘They only cheer one day a week. Those other six days they have to carry around those horns and make sure they are just as respectable off the field as they are on the field,’ Faulk said.

In addition to cheering at games, NFL cheerleaders are also required to carry out 1,500 hours of community service each year, and take part in other team appearances and rehearse. They also pose for the annual Rams Cheerleading Swimsuit Calendar and Rams Cheer Poster.

Recently, several cheerleading squads have lodged lawsuits against their teams for wage theft.

In one lawsuit, filed by the Oakland Raiders cheerleaders, it was claimed that they were being paid less than $5 an hour when all of their time was accounted for.

Cheerleading teams for the Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have also filed similar lawsuits.

Four of these lawsuits have been settled with teams agreeing to pay out a combined $2.5million in back wages, while admitting no wrong doing.

The Raiders are now paying their cheerleaders minimum wage.

Newly chosen Los Angeles Rams cheerleaders celebrate after receiving their team jackets during the final auditions for the cheerleading squad.

Newly chosen Los Angeles Rams cheerleaders celebrate after receiving their team jackets during the final auditions for the cheerleading squad.

The 28-woman crew will perform at games, as well as take part in 1,500 hours of community service.

The 28-woman crew will perform at games, as well as take part in 1,500 hours of community service.

Read more:

Videos: Los Angeles Rams Cheerleaders Final Audition

More videos here.

L.A. Rams Cheerleader Auditions 2016

The big finish

By Ernie Manrique
LA Weekly
April 19, 2016

[Slideshow: LA Rams Cheerleader Auditions (97 photos)]

Final auditions for the Los Angeles Rams Cheerleaders were held at the Forum in Inglewood on Sunday, April 17. The competitors were winnowed down to 66 finalists from more than 400 who auditioned. The judges included Basement Beats’ Demetrius Bledsoe; Beverly Hills hairstylist Nick Chavez; celebrity voice coach Nick Cooper; Lisa Estrada, the Lakers’ VP of entertainment and facilities; Pro Football Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk, who played for the Rams in St. Louis; film/TV producer Jamala Gaither; Angela King-Twitero, a former NFL cheerleader, who designed the uniforms for the Rams Cheerleaders; former ballerina Emily Pastoors, who’s married to Rams executive Tony Pastoors; and Rams cheer choreographer John Peters. The Rams’ director of cheerleaders is Keely Fimbres-Bledsoe. Rams reporter and emcee for the final auditions was Dani Klupenger. The final auditions included a Q&A, a bathing suit segment and a performance routine. The final squad of 28 cheerleaders was announced at the event, with the help of Rams mascot Rampage.

All photos by Ernie Manrique

Rams select their 2016-17 cheerleading squad

2016 LAR finals

By Tim Forkes

April 18, 2016

After their move from St. Louis, Rams head coach Jeff Fisher and his staff, along with the general manager and his staff, set about putting the team together and figuring out the logistics of where the team would train, have off-season workouts, where the players and staff would live — in essence, they were assembling a football franchise almost from scratch.

Equally important for Los Angeles Rams is the cheerleading squad. The team has had cheerleaders since 1974, when they were first known as “The Embraceable Ewes.” Thankfully the team decided to drop that moniker and simply call them the Rams Cheerleaders, first in St. Louis and now in Los Angeles.

Brittany

Brittany

Leading the efforts to build a new squad is cheerleader director Keely Fimbres-Bledsoe and choreographer John Peters. In March they held workshops to teach some basic steps to the hundreds of women vying for the team. Then on April 2 they held preliminary auditions in which nearly 400 aspiring cheerleaders attended.

Then, on April 5 the team announced the 66 finalists on their website and these young women would then audition to make the final squad of 28. That final audition was held April 17 at the L.A. Forum in Inglewood. In the 12 days between the announcement of the finalists and the final auditions, the dancers rehearsed their dance routines and had interviews with members of the Rams staff.

On Sunday all the nervous waiting was over. The final auditions were open to the public and a crowd of about 300 showed up to cheer on their favorites. It started with the women walking out to the front of the stage to answer questions from the night’s emcee, Dani Klupenger, who is also the Rams reporter. Some of the questions were about which super power they would like to have, what would be essential to living on a deserted island, favorite food, who would they like to have dinner with, living or not — Beyoncé one contestant answered, to great applause.

After a brief intermission the dancers then had a beauty contest in bikinis. The uniforms they will wear on field will cover a little more of their bodies than bikinis, but it gave the judges a chance to evaluate them on their physical appearance. One of the judges said some of them should have skipped wearing high heels and another gave them kudos for having the courage to go through with the entire audition process.

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Mandi

The judges were Demetrius Bledsoe, a marketing and music executive, Nick Chavez, s celebrity hair stylist, Nick Cooper, a celebrity voice coach, Lisa Estrada, the L.A. Lakers Vice President of Entertainment and Facilities, Marshall Faulk, one of the great running backs in the team’s history, Jamala Gaither, a film and television producer, Angela King-Twitero a former NFL cheerleader and the designer who created the L.A. Rams cheer uniforms, Emily Pastoors, a former ballerina and wife of Rams executive Tony Pastoors, and finally John Peters, the chorographer for the L.A. Rams Cheerleaders.

After the bikini portion the women then performed, two at a time, the dance moves they had been working on since April 2. After 65 of the women performed (one of the 66 didn’t take part after the bikini segment), it was left up to the judges to give their scores for each dancer.

For them some of the finalists might have been obvious choices to either choose or send home, but for the untrained eye, the majority of the finalists had great performances.

After several videos, Klupenger announced they had chosen the 2016-17 L.A. Rams Cheerleaders. Falk came to the stage and spoke about the importance of the cheerleaders and what it took to even audition, let alone succeed in making the squad. It’s hard getting up in front of a crowd of people wearing only a bikini and high heels, but it gave the judges a better understanding of the dancers’ poise.

2016 LAR finals_ArielAnd then the final 28, the L.A. Rams Cheerleaders were announced one at a time, each cheerleader escorted to the stage by Rampage, the Rams mascot. It was a very exciting night for the women who made the inaugural L.A. Rams Cheerleaders. It is a bit of history they can now tell their family and friends: they were part of the first Rams cheerleading squad after the team returned to Los Angeles. For the complete list you can visit the Rams website Here.

Afterwards the cheerleaders and judges, along with the Keely Fimbres-Bledsoe and John Peters assembled on stage for the media. Peters took a few moments to answer a couple questions, beginning with the squad’s diversity.

The Rams didn’t have to try and have a diverse group of applicants audition for the cheer squad. Los Angeles — and Southern California — is such a diverse community they had women from all ethnic and cultural backgrounds tryout and make the squad. That will be evident when the Los Angeles Rams Cheerleaders makes their first public appearance in uniform.

Peters said, “It’s hard in some places to achieve that level of diversity.” There are some places in the U.S. that just aren’t as diverse as some of the bigger cities like Los Angeles, New York and Miami.

When asked to relate this new Rams cheerleading squad to the general themes of this election year, Peters said, “It tells you beauty comes in many colors, shapes and sizes and backgrounds.”

Peters spends a lot of time teaching and training his squads, but he said he does get a chance to sit back and watch the games and enjoy the cheerleading squad, as a fan and their choreographer. Peters also said he’s been a Rams fan for a long time. “People will come out and cheer the Rams even if their first season isn’t great. They’re so happy to have football back in Los Angeles — and in the Los Angeles Coliseum. It’s such a beautiful stadium.”

Of course in 2019 the Rams will have a modern NFL-caliber stadium in Inglewood, but for now nostalgic Rams fans can enjoy their team in the past home of the team.

In our first video report on the Rams cheer auditions our reporter interviewed three of the women who were trying to make the team. One didn’t make the round of 66. Of the two who did, only one, Valerie, made the squad. After the initial auditions Valerie said she was, “really nervous, just waiting for the list to be posted.”

That Tuesday after the auditions when the list was posted on the Rams website Valerie was at work. “I smiled a lot to myself,” she said, but after work Valerie couldn’t contain her excitement.

2016 LAR finals_ValerieThey went through two weeks of rehearsals for the final auditions, so all of the prospective cheerleaders would be prepared to do their best. Once she got to the Forum, Valerie said she was nervous once again, but calmed down once she began dancing in the audition.

After the scores were tallied and the girls chosen, Valerie said she had a “rush of emotion. I almost cried.”

Valerie had once been a cheerleader for the Los Angeles Lakers. When asked about it Kobe Bryant’s final game, Valerie said it was so exciting, like in his younger days. “It didn’t seem like the end. It felt like he could go on for more.”

A common sentiment for many Lakers fans.

The L.A. Rams haven’t announced any public events for the new L.A. Rams Cheerleaders, but they will be the brand ambassadors for the team, something all the cheerleaders take seriously.When they do make public appearances they will proudly represent the Los Angeles Rams and the city of Los Angeles.

Los Angeles has NFL football once again — and they have great cheerleading squad to help introduce the team to the fans.

Homecoming: The 2016 Los Angeles Rams Cheerleaders Final Auditions

Much has been written about the return of professional football to the City of Angels.  There were the many abortive attempts over the years to build stadiums that never gained traction among the various stakeholders in the community and in the NFL.  And it appeared that the league was more interested in using the threat of relocation to Los Angeles as leverage against other localities to pony up public funds for new stadiums in smaller markets.  As the years passed in to decades, fans became more jaded with the less than credible efforts to bring back professional football to Los Angeles, a land of untold riches to the right owner.  But things have a way of changing suddenly when billions of dollars are at stake.

What can be said of this long process can be summed up by the adage, “fortune favors the bold”.

Stan Kroenke orchestrated a sudden take back of the nation’s second largest television market by proposing to build, with little or no public funding, not only a stadium, but a mixed use entertainment complex…putting asunder the designs of less ambitious and less serious team owners to the north and south.

Fortune does indeed belong to the bold and Los Angeles belongs to the Rams.

Now let us reap the rewards…and the first of these is the 2016 Los Angeles Rams Cheerleaders.

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On Sunday, April 17th, the Los Angeles Rams held their final auditions for their 2016 cheerleading squad.  It was held at The Forum, the venerable arena that in a prior era, was the home of the showtime Lakers.  Now it is one of the premier venues for concerts and the performing arts in southern California.  It was a fitting locale to host the auditions, being a mere stone’s throw from the future home of the Los Angeles Rams.

On this night of nights, there would be a showcase of beauty and talent on display as 66 finalists vied for one of the 28 coveted spots on the squad.  There were former cheerleaders and dancers from the Laker Girls, Clippers Spirit, Charger Girls, Baltimore Ravens, the Kings Ice Crew, the Ontario Fury and a host of other semi-pro teams.  If the Rams were creating a band, this would be the equivalent of creating a supergroup the likes of Cream, Bad Company, The Highwaymen, The Traveling Wilburys, Journey, or Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

Continue reading Homecoming: The 2016 Los Angeles Rams Cheerleaders Final Auditions

2016 L.A. Rams Cheerleaders Announced

The 2016 L.A. Rams Cheerleaders were announced last night at their final auditions.  You can see the Rams announcement here.  I was there on behalf of UltimateCheerleaders.com and as I review and post process the over two thousand photos, let me tease you with this…it was an awesome event and this squad will be one of the hottest in the NFL with former cheerleaders from the Laker Girls, Charger Girls, Ravens, and several other local teams that made the squad. So stay tuned for my upcoming article.

And on a separate note, congratulations to two former Ladies of Ontario Fury dancers who made this squad, Sativa-Skye and Stephanie. They join a growing list of former Ladies of Ontario Fury dancers who made the jump to major league dance teams over years, like the Charger Girls, Laker Girls, Clippers Spirit, Golden State Warriors, and this year, the Gold Rush.

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Former Ladies of Ontario Fury Dancer Sativa-Skye

Making the Squad: Inside the Rams Cheerleaders Preliminary Auditions

Myles Simmons
Los Angeles Rams
April 7, 2016

It’s been 21 long years, but the NFL has returned to Los Angeles.

The Rams’ players will be filing into the temporary facility in Oxnard, Calif. for the start of the offseason program on April 18. But L.A. also needs individuals to be ambassadors to represent the organization with poise and class: the 2016 Los Angeles Rams Cheerleaders.

There are a few steps in order to become one of the ladies on the squad, including a few workshops held throughout the Los Angeles area in March. But the red-letter day on the calendar was April 2 for the squad’s preliminary auditions.

Eventually, the team will be comprised of around 35 young women. However, nearly 400 made their way to the practice gymnasium at the University of Southern California’s Galen Center last Saturday. This all-day session would narrow the field down to 66 finalists, each of whom will go through dance rehearsals and an interview before the final auditions at The Forum on April 17.

But to narrow that field on Saturday made for a long, strenuous day.

WARMING UP

“I’m really pleased with the turnout today. I think that everyone here today is very technically trained. So we’re grateful that everyone came out.”

While the auditions didn’t officially begin until 9 a.m., ladies began filling the gym an hour before to register. There was a palpable mix of nervous energy in the room, as some young women stretched on the floor with their friends, and others mingled of the bleachers.

And these ladies came from all different walks of life.

“Right now I’m actually a full-time manager for AT&T,” said one.

“I’m a group fitness instructor — an instructor for Zumba,” said another.

Of course, there were former cheerleaders in the room as well. Some had worked in the Los Angeles market for the Clippers or Lakers. Others had worked in the NFL — places like Baltimore and Washington. And two had even previously cheered for the Rams.

But for this group of young women, Saturday represented the first chance to cheer for an NFL team in Los Angeles. For many, it was the exact challenge they wanted.

“I knew L.A. was expecting an NFL team, so everyone was just kind of waiting to hear who would move here,” said Shelbie K, a former cheerleader for the Lakers. “And once we found out it was the Rams, we were so excited.”

“Obviously, it’s been a rumor for quite some time now that the Rams are coming here. So I’ve been on the lookout, waiting to see when auditions are going to come up,” said Andi R., who’s danced for two NBA and MLS teams. “I’ve been all around, but I’ve never done NFL. It’s on my bucket list.”

As the potential cheerleaders went through their final preparations for the long day, so did Rams Director of Cheerleaders Keely Fimbres-Bledsoe. As she scanned the room, Fimbres-Bledsoe appeared pleased with the turnout for the squad’s re-introduction to the Los Angeles market.

“We have almost 400 candidates today,” Fimbres-Bledsoe said, setting the stage for the morning session. “They’ll do a short warm up, they’ll do across the floor, and we’ll eliminate from there — go on to Round 2.”

Left unsaid was just how soon those cuts would come.

ROUND 1

“You only have that little bit of time to shine on a football field, in an appearance. And it’s first impressions.”

A longtime choreographer in the Los Angeles area, John Peters has previously worked with the Rams and Fimbres-Bledsoe for a number of years. With that familiarity, he knows exactly what to teach and how to teach it for Round 1 with across the floor.

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“It entails all the technical elements that a Rams cheerleader would need to have in their basic form for them to make it through an entire season,” said Peters, “and be able to dance the routines that we do throughout the entire season.”

When Peters says the basics, it’s relative. Some of the potential cheerleaders may not have thought the kicks and turns were all that simple. But, as Peters said, it’s about making sure the ladies have the required baseline skills.

After learning the combination in long rows spread out across the gym, the ladies had around 10 minutes to practice the short routine before performing it in groups of three for the five judges. That’s it.

Raising the intensity of the situation, the judges gave only a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” to each contestant after she performed in her group.

If the potential cheerleader received enough “yes” votes from the panel, she’d advance to the next round with a green wristband. If she didn’t, she’d hear, “Thank you for coming,” and walk over to have her pink wristband removed. Her audition was over.

With such an impersonal process — at this point, the ladies did not even have numbers to identify them — it’s no shock the entire room was filled with nervous energy. That includes from the judges themselves.

“It was a little frightening, and a little intimidating for us because usually you hide behind a piece of paper and say yes or no. This is right in front of them to say you’re in or out,” said Sandy Charboneau of Pro Tour Productions, one of the judges. “I think that’s what [the first round] was about — first impressions. Do you like them or do you not like them?”

In some ways, it’s disarming just how machine-like the process goes. A group of three walks up, Peters counts them in, the ladies dance, and the judges render their decisions. And it’s clear as an observer who should and should not move on to Round 2. But that doesn’t necessarily make it easier when a contestant is out of the running.

“Unfortunately, I got cut. But that’s ok,” said Chace, who seemed disappointed but still upbeat about the experience. “People are often so shy to audition, but if you take your life, and you look at things and you say, ‘Oh, I don’t really want to do that,’ out of failure, out of fear, out of being scared of losing — you’re not going to live your life.”

“I get emotional because I’ve been on that side,” Fimbres-Bledsoe said. “I’ve auditioned many times, not made a lot of teams, not made a lot of things. So for me, it is personal. It’s emotional. So I do feel for everyone. But I am grateful that they all came out today.

“I just feel for them,” she continued. “It’s not easy. This is very ‘L.A.’ This is exactly what they do at every audition. Sometimes, you don’t even get to stand there. They’ll just tap you out and say, ‘Thank you for coming.’”

There were some hung heads, and a few tears. But there were also 132 ladies who received that green wristband to move on to Round 2.

“I just did across the floor, it was the first audition of the day, and I got through the first round. So I’m so excited,” said Aubrey A. “I really listened to the corrections and tried to apply it to my across the floor. And I think that’s what got me through.”

It’s about 11:45 when the last group of three finishes its Round 1 routine. Fimbres-Bledsoe addresses the group to congratulate those who have made it through.

“Be sure to get something to eat if you need it,” she says, “because the next round will start exactly at 12:30.”

And for those still in the room who did not advance, it’s time to leave.

ROUND 2

“We’re not looking for soloists. We’re looking for team players.”

The relaxed atmosphere of the lunch period proves short lived, as Peters explains the second round is about to be significantly harder.

“I’m going to be teaching them a routine that’s more like what we would be doing at a sideline or a timeout, or a halftime performance,” Peters says. “It’ll show a little bit of style of all the types of things that we’re going to need for them to be able to do. They use pompoms, so we need strength of movement. We’ll have some technical dance elements in it as well — a little bit of hip hop type of stuff, because we do a little bit of everything for Rams cheerleaders to appeal to the audience.”

Peters breaks up the routine into three sections to teach it. There are hip turns, spins, flips, kicks, leaps — everything you would imagine from a complex cheerleader routine. But these young women are not given much time to master the choreography.

“It is hard to pick up a routine depending on your skill set, but some girls take a little longer to go home, have to really process things, and then they can come out and shine,” Charboneau says. “Unfortunately, in this industry … you don’t have that kind of time. So you have to show that you learn a routine fast. You have to come out and then perform it.”

And there is a difference between simply knowing a routine versus performing it. Charboneau pointed out a few indications.

“Charisma. Hair flipping. Smiles. Personality,” Charboneau says. “You can learn the five steps [just like] everybody else, but are you going to stand out with that personality coming out and you say, ‘wow, that girl shines’? There should be 20 girls on the court and you can see that one girl. And that’s the girl that you want on that football field.”

Peters takes about an hour and a half to teach the dance, weaving the three sections together. After running through it a few times, the pairs begin a 15-minute practice session, during which the audition song — a sped up remix of Fifth Harmony’s “Work from Home” — blares over the speakers. Some pairs work off to the side, trying to develop chemistry. A big group forms in the middle of the floor, as some dancers appear to struggle to retain the choreography without looking at their competition.

And then, the music stops. No more rehearsing.

That goes for when the pairs begin performing, too. If the ladies aren’t in front of the judges, they sit quietly on the edges of the floor for what is perhaps the most nerve-racking part of the day. There are 66 pairs, and they perform in order from No. 1 to No. 132 — nothing is random. So while the first few pairs do the routine the dance when it’s fresh, the last few have to wait over an hour.

That’s why Andi R. — former Lakers and Clippers cheerleader and contestant No. 132 — had to develop a strategy to stay focused.

“I was trying not to watch too much, just because I feel like that can mess me up,” she said. “Everyone dances differently. So I was trying to kind of just sit with my eyes closed and do it in my head.”

The visualization technique was apparently popular for those who were successful.

“I sat, closed my eyes, visualized it perfectly. And then got up and made that reality,” said Shelbie K., No. 53. “You have to be connected to yourself and not even look at any other girls.”

Both Andi and Shelbie were able to get through the dance, performing the choreography as it was taught. Many others did not share the same fate. Some dropped a couple steps but where able to get right back in it. Others simply could not get past the first few moves before getting lost.

The break up in sections also seemed to be a blessing and a curse. If a dancer lost her place in the second section, she could sometimes get right back in it with the third.

And a derailing factor for more than a few routines was one dancer dropping a step or two, looking over to her partner, and that partner making eye contact. For whatever reason, that one simple act could throw off both dancers, possibly costing both a shot as finalists.

These instances underscored the difficulty and unique nature of this audition.

“I’ve tried out for as many teams as you can think of, and it’s unheard of to learn a whole routine that you perform on gameday in one day in one round,” said Brittany W. “It’s intense. And then we did it again in lines, which is also unheard of. But I like it. Switch it up.”

Nevertheless, there were plenty of young women feeling good about their chances after all 66 pairs had finished their dance. Fimbres-Bledsoe also gave the contestants an opportunity to do the dance one last time in groups of 10.

“I would say the first time I performed it, I felt a little bit shaky. I had a little slip up, but then I caught back on,” said Brandi W. “They let us do it again, so I definitely redeemed myself. I think I was able to show the judges that I do know the choreography.”

“It was absolutely amazing, just to have the opportunity to be around so many talented, beautiful, dynamic women — it just pushed you to be your best,” said Shardia W. “It just gave you a little more courage to come out here and try to shine. I’m tired, I feel like I ran a marathon. But it was definitely worth every minute.”

For Shardia, Brandi, and 64 other young women, their spot as finalists would be solidified over the next two hours in a small conference room one floor below the gymnasium.

DELIBERATIONS

“If we think that there’s potential, or we want to see them again, we’re going to advance them.”

While the panel of five judges made their decisions known in Round 1, for Round 2 they silently wrote either, yes, no, or maybe on a form at the end of each dance. Occasionally, the panel would make some notes as well.

“In this room, we give everyone an opportunity to fight for who they feel we want to see again, because sometimes today gets a little tiring,” Fimbres-Bledsoe said just before the start of deliberations. “So if we think that there’s potential, or we want to see them again, we’re going to advance them.”

Much like the rest of the day, the process is fairly impersonal. Without an image the ladies in the room, Fimbres-Bledsoe first goes from No. 1 to No. 132 asking for either a yes, no, or maybe vote from the judges and Peters. If the vote was unanimous on the first pass — whether up or down — the discussion was over for that candidate. If a potential cheerleader needed more discussion, that would be done after all the numbers had been voted on for the first time.

It’s in this room that the vision of what the judges are looking for in a cheerleader begins to crystalize based on the comments they make about each candidate.

“All the judges are here for different reasons,” Fimbres-Bledsoe says. “So we all see something different in every girl — whether it’s her physical appearance, her hair, how well she speaks, her dance ability. Everybody brings something different to the table.”

As the panel goes through the ladies marked for discussion, they look at pictures shot just before each dancer began her, Round 2 audition.

There’s no one set of criteria for what could make a positive or negative impact. Any comment can either help or hurt a potential finalist.

Did she cheer for an NBA team? That could be a positive. Did she cheer for another NFL team? Depending on which one it was, that could be a negative. Is she a good-but-not-great dancer? Maybe put her through to see how she interviews.

How will she be as a teammate?

“She’s the only girl I saw grab her partner’s hand and say, ‘Good luck.’ That definitely counts for something.”

Can she actually do the dancing required to be a cheerleader?

“We’re never going to do more than a double pirouette, but they need to at least do a double pirouette.”

How well did she adhere to instructions?

“It was laid out for everybody. Everybody is equal — you get one shot and one shot only. So for her to ask that question… For me, it’s a no.”

“She does not follow directions. She was wearing shorts.”

How did she perform in the audition?

“She’s beautiful…but she had flailing technique.”

“She pretty much re-choreographed the entire thing.”

But the question at the heart of it all: Can she be a Los Angeles Rams Cheerleader?

“She’s the most beautiful girl at the audition.”

“She’s very good as a teammate.”

“She dances effortlessly.”

“She is Ms. Cheerleader. She could be the captain of the cheerleaders.”

It takes about an hour and a half, but about 7 o’clock, the Rams have their 66 cheerleader finalists.

“I’m a little nervous, I think,” Fimbres-Bledsoe says. “It’s going to extend our show, but it gives us an opportunity to see more talent.”

You, too, can have the opportunity to see the finalists in person at the Final Auditions. The event will be held April 17 at The Forum. Tickets start at $10 and may be purchased at ticketmaster.com by clicking the link here.

Video from LA Rams Cheerleader Auditions

Los Angeles Rams Cheer Finalists

The Los Angeles Rams Cheerleaders announced their finalists on Tuesday.

The candidates who advanced past the preliminary auditions will participate in an interview, additional training and rehearsals leading up to the final auditions, which will be held at the Forum on April 17. Ticket information will be released on Wednesday, April 6.

PHOTOS: Los Angeles Rams Cheer Auditions

Please visit http://cheerfor.therams.com/ for more information.

  • Abby F. (#80)
  • Alexandra (Ally) M. (#86)
  • Alexandra T. (#7)
  • Alexis E. (#81)
  • Alisha M. (#129)
  • Alyssa P. (#26)
  • Amanda L. (#37)
  • Andrianna R. (#132)
  • Ari W. (#34)
  • Ariel D. (#16)
  • Arisa S. (#118)
  • Aubrey A. (#130)
  • Aura G. (#88)
  • Averie H. (#69)
  • Bianca C. (#52)
  • Bianca P. (#2)
  • Brandi R. (#21)
  • Brandi W. (#49)
  • Breanna O. (#94)
  • Britney W. (#73)
  • Brittany W. (#66)
  • Brittany W. (#14)
  • Chelsea T. (#76)
  • Cherise I. (#120)
  • Courtney V. (#133)
  • Elaine W. (#3)
  • Erika S. (#103)
  • Gaebri A. (#110)
  • Giordana G. (#41)
  • Hilary B. (#42)
  • Jasmine P. (#112)
  • Jenna W. (#48)
  • Jennifer C. (#36)
  • Jennifer P. (#113)
  • Jeri-Faye C. (#55)
  • Jordan G. (#27)
  • Justene A. (#62)
  • K. Shardia W. (#68)
  • Kaitlyn H. (#126)
  • Katherine S. (#47)
  • Kellie J. (#87)
  • Krista H. (#70)
  • Laura S. (#57)
  • Lauren D. (#111)
  • Linette F. (#12)
  • Macall M. (#67)
  • Madison G. (#38)
  • Mandi M. (#50)
  • Mckenzie R. (#31)
  • Megan T. (#19)
  • Melissa P. (#92)
  • Michelle H. (#75)
  • Michelle S. (#23)
  • Michelle S. (#63)
  • Micki J. (#59)
  • Nicole S. (#10)
  • Olivia K. (#107)
  • Samantha O. (#60)
  • Sativa-Skye M. (#115)
  • Shelbie K. (#53)
  • Starkesha T. (#97)
  • Stephanie E. (#29)
  • Sydney S. (#64)
  • Valerie Y. (#40)
  • Yuka M. (#32)
  • Zandra T. (#99)

  • Among the women are many who have danced for the Clippers, Lakers, Fury, Chivas, and Chargers. You know who you are ladies 😉 Good luck to all! ~sasha

    Here are but a few:
    Stephanie Ontario Fury
    Stephanie (Ontario Fury)

    Aubrey Lakers
    Aubrey (LA Lakers)

    Starkesha Chargers
    Starkesha (SD Chargers)

    Andi Lakers
    Andi (LA Lakers, LA Clippers, Chivas USA)

    Brittany Fury
    Brittany (Ontario Fury)

    400 Hopefuls Audition For Rams Cheerleading Squad

    CBS Los Angeles
    April 2, 2016

    LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles Rams conducted preliminary cheerleading auditions Saturday at USC’s Galen Center, with approximately 400 candidates trying out.

    The candidates had to learn a dance and perform the routine in front a trio of judges.

    The judging was based on physical talent, dance ability, personality, appearance and poise, according to Keely Fimbres-Bledsoe, the Rams director of special events and cheerleaders.

    “We are seeking professional, glamorous, talented candidates to be part of our return to Los Angeles,” Fimbres-Bledsoe said. “Our cheerleaders will represent the Rams organization not only on the field, but also throughout the community, nationally and abroad.”

    Fimbres-Bledsoe said she’s looking for accomplished dancers — not just cheerleaders.

    “We’re much more of a dance team than we are traditional cheerleaders,” she said.

    The Los Angeles Rams Cheerleaders were established in 1968. The cheerleaders participate in more than 1,500 hours of community service per year and squad members are featured in the annual Rams Cheerleading Swimsuit Calendar and Rams Cheer Poster, Fimbres-Bledsoe said.

    The finalists will be announced at 5 p.m. Tuesday on the team’s website, TheRams.com.

    They will be required to participate in a professional interview the week of April 11. Final auditions will take place April 17 at The Forum.

    The 2016 Los Angeles Rams Cheerleaders will make their first public appearance April 28 at the team’s official draft party.

    Saturday’s auditions were closed to the public. CBS2’s Greg Mills, however, got to attend.

    Men were also encouraged to try out, but Mills reports not one did.

    L.A. Rams Cheerleaders Auditions Next Week

    rams

    “We are seeking professional, glamorous, talented candidates to be part of our return to Los Angeles. Our Cheerleaders will represent the Rams organization not only on the field, but also throughout the community, nationally and abroad.” Keely Fimbres-Bledsoe, Director of Special Events and Cheerleaders

    Preliminary Audition:

    • April 2 – Round 1
    • April 3 – Round 2

    Final Auditions (The Forum)

    • April 17

    Preliminary auditions begin April 2. Candidates must be at least 18 years of age and a high school graduate by April 2, 2016. In order to audition, you must complete the application online and upload a resume. Resumes should outline your educational and occupational background, community service, public speaking and any dance/cheer/modeling or commercial experience you may have.

    For more information about the L.A. Rams Cheerleaders auditions, click here.